The Irish Writers Centre newsletter told me about 'Little Christmas'.
Shakespeare called it Twelfth Night, we mark it on the calendar as January 6th, heave a sigh of relief and say, 'Thank Goodness it's as far away as ever it will be.'
Not the Irish. On January 6th, in recognition of all their work over the previous year,Irish women are allowed to stay in bed and be waited on by their menfolk.
I can just imagine it, Irish women toiling for days to make sure the cake tins are full, the meals cooked and the house clean enough for them to take a day off. And their menfolk?
"Don't you worry, Pet. You have a good lie in and I'll see to everything."
"Sorry to wake you pet, but I can't find any clean towels. No, don't get up. We'll be right now. Go back to sleep."
"Just tell me Darlin', where do you stow the tea bags? Right. Go back to sleep."
Imagine the bairns, peering round the bedroom door.
"Mam, do we have to eat Da's porridge? It's all lumpy."
"Mam, I told you I needed my best blue blouse to-day and you haven't ironed it. No I can't wear my green."
"Mam, Da's hidden the remote.He says we ca't watch the cartoons."
"Sorry love, but the new puppy's peed on the livin' room carpet. How do I fix it?"
A day off for women? In their dreams.
But the Irish Writers' Centre is having a women's literature day on June 6th with readings and workshops by and about noted Irish women writers. Their hearts are in the right place.
If I was rich I would charter a plane and fly there, just for that day.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL